Detection of T lymphocytes specific for human endogenous retrovirus K (HERV-K) in patients with seminoma.
Rakoff-Nahoum S., Kuebler PJ., Heymann JJ., E Sheehy M., Ortiz GM., S Ogg G., Barbour JD., Lenz J., Steinfeld AD., Nixon DF.
Human endogenous retrovirus K (HERV-K) is distinctive among the retroviruses that comprise about 8% of the human genome in that multiple HERV-K proviruses encode full-length viral proteins, and many HERV-K proviruses formed during recent human evolution. HERV-K gag proteins are found in the cytoplasm of primary tumor cells of patients with seminoma. We identified HERV-K-specific T cells in patients with a past history of seminoma using the interferon-gamma ELISPOT assay and an MHC-HERV-K peptide-specific tetramer. A minority of apparently healthy subjects without evident germ cell tumors also made HERV-K-specific T cell responses. In summary, we detected T cell reactivity to HERV-K peptides in both past seminoma patients and a minority of apparently healthy controls.